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Morton throws 6 strong innings and d'Arnaud hits another homer as streaking Braves top Rangers 5-2

ATLANTA (AP) — Charlie Morton combined with three relievers on a five-hitter and the Atlanta Braves beat Nathan Eovaldi and the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

The NL East-leading Braves have won the first two games of the weekend series against the Rangers, who lead the AL West.

Travis d’Arnaud, who drove in six runs with three homers, including a grand slam, in the Braves’ 8-3 win on Friday night, hit a two-run homer off right-hander Austin Pruitt in the eighth.

Morton (2-0) allowed two runs and four hits with two walks in six innings. Joe Jiménez, A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias each pitched a scoreless inning. Iglesias earned his sixth save in as many chances with a perfect ninth inning.

Luis Guillorme had a run-scoring double and Matt Olson's sacrifice fly broke a 2-2 tie in Atlanta's three-run second inning.

Eovaldi (1-2) allowed three runs and five hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings.

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said before the game he planned a surprise out of the bullpen. The surprise was right-hander Jon Gray, who has started four games this season, entered in relief of Eovaldi in the sixth.

Gray, who had worked in relief in only one of 209 career regular-season appearances with Colorado and Texas, recorded two strikeouts to strand two runners in the sixth before adding two more strikeouts in a perfect seventh.

Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the first with an infield single. Following a bunt single by Michael Harris II, a double steal gave Acuña 189 career steals, pulling him even with Rafael Furcal for the Atlanta record.

The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966. Including the team's years in Boston and Milwaukee, Acuña ranks 11th in franchise history. Herman Long had a franchise-record 434 steals for the Boston Braves from 1890-1902.

Harris had three hits.

Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe was held without a hit in his return from the injured list after missing the first 20 games of the season because of a right oblique strain.

Travis Jankowski made a leaping catch of Austin Riley's drive at the top of the center field wall in the eighth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: RHP Max Scherzer (back surgery) had no difficulty the day after throwing a two-inning simulated game on Friday. Bochy said Scherzer will have one more bullpen session before possibly beginning a minor league rehab on Wednesday. ... C Sam Huff was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. 1B Jared Walsh was designated for assignment and C Jonah Heim was placed on the bereavement list.

UP NEXT

Braves rookie RHP Darius Vines (0-0, 1.93) will make his second start of the season and fourth of his career in Sunday night's final game of the series. Rangers RHP Michael Lorenzen (1-0, 0.00) is 1-1 with a 7.52 ERA in 12 games, including two starts, against Atlanta.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Charles Odum, The Associated Press